First acts announced for 2015 WOMADelaide

Oct 09, 2014
Youssou N’Dour

Youssou N’Dour

Irish “supergroup” The Gloaming, Swedish singer-rapper Neneh Cherry, Sengalese musician Youssou N’Dour and Japanese “death jazz” band Soil and Pimp Sessions will be heading to next year’s WOMADelaide.

Today’s initial announcement of 25 artists heralds a “jam-packed” line-up for 2015, artists’ programmer Danni Colgan told InDaily.

“I am particularly excited about The Gloaming, the Irish supergroup that came together with Thomas Bartlett [aka Doveman], an amazing young pianist from New York.

“They are really just dynamic, with that Irish traditional music coming through so strongly – it really captivates the audience.”

Colgan, who was previously program manager for the Sydney Festival, says Youssou N’Dour will be another highlight of the March 6-9 festival in Botanic Park.

He performed at the original festival in 1992 and has dovetailed a music career with a political one in more recent years, serving as Senegal’s Minister for Culture and Tourism and also standing for president.

“His live show is fantastic,” Colgan says of the man who pioneered the Senegalese fusion dance music known as mbalax.

“There’s just a really great energy, with 15 or 16 people on stage.

“It is quite the sound of Africa that has crossed over into the mainstream … I find it really invigorating and uplifting and empowering. His voice just resonates.”

Eighty-year-old Abdullah Ibrahim, who was last here for Earth Station, will return with his quartet, while renowned singer, rapper and DJ Neneh Cherry will play a show with UK duo RocketNumberNine. Cherry, who recently released her first solo album (Blank Project) in nearly two decades, also has a link to N’Dour, with the pair recording the hit “7 seconds” together in the 1990s.

Rounding out Colgan’s top five in the initial line-up are Brazilian singer Criolo – “a rap artist with a soul voice” who is immensely popular in his home country – and Bolivian folk singer Luzmila Carpio.

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“She has this amazing voice, and she sings in her native South American language,” Colgan says of Carpio, who was also the Bolivian ambassador to France.

“It just really grabs your attention – she says she sings to the birds [because her voice is so high].”

Among the more offbeat inclusions is Kiwi show Live Live Cinema, which incorporates both actors and a music ensemble who will reinterpret on stage two gothic horror films – black-and-white cult classic Carnival of Souls and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13 – while the actual movies play on a screen in the background.


Festival goers can expect an equally wild ride with Soil and Pimp Sessions (above), described as “Japan’s leading undertakers of ‘death jazz’.”

“They do quite an assault of jazz funk … they are pretty relentless in making everyone dance and have a good time,” Colgan says. “It’s a really high-energy show – they make you perform as much as them. It’s crazy Japanese musicians going all out on stage.”

Colgan, who previously worked for Arts Projects Australia and WOMADelaide in 2001 and has since held programming and producing roles at a number of festivals and events in Australia and the UK, is relishing the opportunity to work on the world music festival.

“It’s really exciting just being able to delve into all corners of the world and look for great music, and it can come for everywhere.

“I love just finding out the little histories stemming back from each band’s influence. You get a real mix of people that stay true to their traditions or put a contemporary edge to it, so it is constantly educational.”

Other acts in the initial line-up announcement are:
  • Balkan Beat Box
  • Desert blues guitarist and singer Bombino, from Niger
  • Italian group Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
  • American electric blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite
  • European punk-reggae band Che Sudaka
  • Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia
  • Brazilian samba-reggae performer Flavia Coelho
  • Bluegrass musician Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys
  • Jambinai, who play post-rock music on traditional Korean instruments
  • Congolese group Jupiter & Okwess International
  • Boston soul group Lake Street Dive
  • Gospel singers the Malawi Mouse Boys
  • Hindustani virtuoso Meeta Pandit
  • Public Service Broadcasting, a UK duo who mix old public information films with post-rock electronica
  • Palestinian instrumentalist Ramzi Aburedwan and Ensemble Dal ‘Ouna
  • Rufus Wainwright

Further acts will be announced on October 28.

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